A Visit to The Underwear Store
The year is 2033, about a week after Christmas. I'm 84 years old, as agile as a cat and still playing hockey twice a week. Yesterday my left winger says something about the elastic on my old undies, I'm sensitive about stuff like that, so today I walk from Wortley Village to The Underwear Store downtown. I don't even get winded. But I learn something.
"Navy blue cotton boxers?" I say to the first salesperson I see.
She nods and points to a greying, western cedar shelf unit that covers half the west wall of the former Kingsmill's Department Store on Dundas Street.
Before I reach the long shelf I can smell it and say, "Excellent lumber. Got size 32-inch waist?" She points toward the left side of the shelf unit. I begin my search. There's dozens of cubbies with numbers and arrows beside each pile of cotton briefs and I soon find my way. But something's different.
"There's no price tags," I say. The girl is nearby and helpfully points to a sign above the cedar shelf. '$5/pair.'
"There's nothing on plastic hangers," I say.
She shakes her head and says, "Piles are easier."
I say, "None of those fussy, sticky strips on each pair with the size?" She shakes her head.
"In other stores some undies come wrapped with a strip of cardboard showing a few details, like size and type, even come in small boxes or plastic bags," I say.
She nods and says, "I know. But we've cut down on packaging."
I nod approval. "And some have tags attached with plastic filament and, gee, you can hardly get those off without ripping something, like your fingers. And then there's some with seals of approval on the inside - you can't even see them unless you look real close. Sometimes they come off in the wash and you wonder what you've been eating."
She laughs. "I know. All that is extraneous. It's extraneous and people complained, so now we go this way."
I give her a thumbs up and we walk to the till.
"Got change for a fifty?" I say. I rub a new synthetic, modular bill between my fingers to make sure six or seven aren't stuck together. "Fresh off the clothesline this morning."
She smiles. Winner. Now there's a store I'll shop at again.
Photos by GH
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